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Encore: New book 'Fort Myers Historic Hurricanes' is part history, part warning of SWFL's severe risk for flooding from a major storm

Water floods a damaged trailer park in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday after Hurricane Ian passed by the area.
Steve Helber
/
AP
Water floods a damaged trailer park in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday after Hurricane Ian passed by the area.

This episode originally aired on October 17, 2022

In his new book, “Fort Myers Historic Hurricanes” Tom Hall offers a history of severe storms that have impacted southwest Florida dating all the way back to 1841, but he also provides a dire warning about this area’s severe risk from hurricanes and storm surge in general.

Hall also wrote “Epic Fires of Fort Myers: How a Series of Early Fires Influenced the Town's Development.”

This new book opens with a hurricane in 1841 that swept across the region making landfall near Sanibel Island and bringing 14' of storm surge to the U.S. Army fort on Punta Rassa. It was after that devastating event that the Army looked further inland for a safer place to build a fort — and that is effectively why Fort Myers is where it now is.

But, this new book also compiles data on just how at risk we are to storm surge and inland flooding in southwest Florida.

Fort Myers ranks sixth in the entire nation when it comes to single-family residential homes that are at risk from storm surge — and fourth for storm surge risk to multifamily residences. Cape Coral is the most at-risk community in the United States for flooding —- that’s tops in a country that has more than 29,000 miles of coastline and 3.5 million miles of rivers.

Even though the book isn’t out yet Tom shared a digital copy with us and we talk with him about it. And we talk with WINK News Chief Meteorologist Matt Devitt who contributed to "Fort Myers Historic Hurricanes," which should be released in hardcover around the end of this year.